Monthly Archives: November 2005

lafave sentence

cnn.com reports that debra beasley lafave, a 25-year-old florida teacher, pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior for having sex with a 14-year-old student. she was sentenced to three years of house arrest, seven years probation, and she must register as a sex offender. conditions of her supervision also ban her from profiting financially from her crime.

ms. beasley lafave’s photo is already posted on the florida department of law enforcement’s sexual predator website. i’ve gotten somewhat familiar with these sites, since kim gardner began collecting data on the contents of state sex offender registries for her independent thesis project. here is the information that florida provides on debbie lafave:

Sex Offender

Debra Jean Beasley
Alias:
Debra J Beasley, Debbie Lafave, Debra Lafave, Debra Beasley Lafave

Status: Community Control
Department of Corrections #: T47535 Date of Birth: 08-28-1980
Race: White Sex: Female Height: 5′ 07″
Hair: Blond Eyes: Blue Weight: 135 lbs.
Scars, Marks, Tattoos: Tattoo Other:Butterfly On Hip; Tattoo Back:Butterfly; Tattoo Back:Chinese Character;
Last Reported Address: 406 12th St Sw, Ruskin, FL 33570-4182
County: Hillsborough Date Address Entered: 11-24-2005
Qualifying Offense(s): Lewd Or Lascivious Battery Victim 12-15 Years Old (Principal)
Victim(s): Gender: Male ; Minor? Yes Gender: Unknown ; Minor? Yes
Beasley is a Sex Offender under Florida law. Positive identification cannot be established unless a fingerprint comparison is made.
aside from her gender and the enormous amount of publicity generated by the case, the entry for ms. lafave/beasley is not dissimilar to others on the site. her age, race, and offense are fairly typical, as are her tattoos. some observers have commented on her physical attractiveness, but even this characteristic is probably not that unusual in the databases (though nobody but sinatra actually looks good in a mug shot). nor is her crime all that unusual. for example, i searched under “beasley” and quickly found a similar case. bobby beasley is also 25 and also convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 16.
Sex Offender Bobby Beasley
Alias: Bobby Ray Beasley, Red Beasley
Status: State Incarceration
Department of Corrections #: H08933 Date of Birth: 05-22-1980
Race: White Sex: Male Height: 6′ 02″
Hair: Red Eyes: Brown Weight: 178 lbs.
Scars, Marks, Tattoos: Tattoo Right Chest Broken Heart Tattoo Right Chest Broken Heart Tattoo Tat
Last Reported Address: Dept. of Corrections, FL
County: Date Address Entered: 12-05-2001
Qualifying Offense(s): Lewd,Lascivious Child U/16 (Principal)
Victim(s): Gender: Unknown ; Minor? Yes
Beasley is a Sex Offender under Florida law. Positive identification cannot be established unless a fingerprint comparison is made.
If further information is needed, please contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Sexual Offender/Predator Unit at (1-888-357-7332) between the hours of 8am and 6.30pm, Monday through Friday

i next searched under “debra” and easily found similar florida cases involving females (e.g., debra favre, who also got some publicity). i think the worldwide attention to lafave’s situation is likely due to a combo platter of newsworthiness:
  • she’s a teacher entrusted with middle school kids, which touches upon parents’ fears;
  • the case is set against a backdrop of moral panic over (mostly) male sex offenders, particularly those who victimize children;
  • at 14, the victim in this case was “only” two years from the median age at first intercourse for males;
  • she has posed for calendars, which simultaneously validates her physical attractiveness and sexual desirability to males and makes for great television;
  • and, in a society in which males are viewed as either sexual predators or protectors, we’re simply flummoxed by the idea of an adolescent male receiving “unwanted” sexual attention from an attractive young woman.
my point here is that debbie lafave’s crimes are far more typical on sex offender registries than the coverage of her story would suggest. the cultural image of the sex offender is a person such as joseph duncan, accused of murder, kidnapping, and rape. yet we apply the same generalized label — designation as a sex offender — to duncan, lafave, and thousands of other lafaves.

lafave’s sentence will seem light to many, since she isn’t doing any jail or prison time beyond house arrest (i mean, even martha went to prison for a few months). for me, it highlights the difficulties in applying gradational punishments for criminal sexual conduct when a categorical “sex offender” stigma is applied to such diverse behaviors.

lafave sentence

cnn.comreports that debra beasley lafave, a 25-year-old florida teacher, pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior for having sex with a 14-year-old student. she was sentenced to three years of house arrest, seven years probation, and she must register as a sex offender. conditions of her supervision also ban her from profiting financially from her crime.ms. beasley lafave’s photo is already posted on the florida department of law enforcement’s sexual predator website. i’ve gotten somewhat familiar with these sites, since kim gardner began collecting data on the contents of state sex offender registries for her independent thesis project. here is the information that florida provides on debbie lafave:

Sex Offender

Debra Jean Beasley
Alias:
Debra J Beasley, Debbie Lafave, Debra Lafave, Debra Beasley Lafave

Status: Community Control
Department of Corrections #: T47535 Date of Birth: 08-28-1980
Race: White Sex: Female Height: 5′ 07″
Hair: Blond Eyes: Blue Weight: 135 lbs.
Scars, Marks, Tattoos: Tattoo Other:Butterfly On Hip; Tattoo Back:Butterfly; Tattoo Back:Chinese Character;
Last Reported Address: 406 12th St Sw, Ruskin, FL 33570-4182
County: Hillsborough Date Address Entered: 11-24-2005
Qualifying Offense(s): Lewd Or Lascivious Battery Victim 12-15 Years Old (Principal)
Victim(s): Gender: Male ; Minor? Yes Gender: Unknown ; Minor? Yes
aside from her gender and the enormous amount of publicity generated by the case, the entry for ms. lafave/beasley is not dissimilar to others on the site. her age, race, and offense are fairly typical, as are her tattoos. some observers have commented on her physical attractiveness, but even this characteristic is probably not that unusual in the databases (though nobody but sinatra actually looks good in a mug shot). nor is her crime all that unusual. for example, i searched under “beasley” and quickly found a similar case. bobby beasley is also 25 and also convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 16.
Sex Offender Bobby Beasley
Alias: Bobby Ray Beasley, Red Beasley
Status: State Incarceration
Department of Corrections #: H08933 Date of Birth: 05-22-1980
Race: White Sex: Male Height: 6′ 02″
Hair: Red Eyes: Brown Weight: 178 lbs.
Scars, Marks, Tattoos: Tattoo Right Chest Broken Heart Tattoo Right Chest Broken Heart Tattoo Tat
Last Reported Address: Dept. of Corrections, FL
County: Date Address Entered: 12-05-2001
Qualifying Offense(s): Lewd,Lascivious Child U/16 (Principal)
Victim(s): Gender: Unknown ; Minor? Yes
If further information is needed, please contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Sexual Offender/Predator Unit at (1-888-357-7332) between the hours of 8am and 6.30pm, Monday through Friday
i next searched under “debra” and easily found similar florida cases involving females (e.g., debra favre, who also got some publicity). i think the worldwide attention to lafave’s situation is likely due to a combo platter of newsworthiness:
  • she’s a teacher entrusted with middle school kids, which touches upon parents’ fears;
  • the case is set against a backdrop of moral panic over (mostly) male sex offenders, particularly those who victimize children;
  • at 14, the victim in this case was “only” two years from the median age at first intercourse for males;
  • she has posed for calendars, which simultaneously validates her physical attractiveness and sexual desirability to males and makes for great television;
  • and, in a society in which males are viewed as either sexual predators or protectors, we’re simply flummoxed by the idea of an adolescent male receiving “unwanted” sexual attention from an attractive young woman.
my point here is that debbie lafave’s crimes are far more typical on sex offender registries than the coverage of her story would suggest. the cultural image of the sex offender is a person such as joseph duncan, accused of murder, kidnapping, and rape. yet we apply the same generalized label — designation as a sex offender — to duncan, lafave, and thousands of other lafaves.
lafave’s sentence will seem light to many, since she isn’t doing any jail or prison time beyond house arrest (i mean, even martha went to prison for a few months). for me, it highlights the difficulties in applying gradational punishments for criminal sexual conduct when a categorical “sex offender” stigma is applied to such diverse behaviors.

can you drink your way to a safer neighborhood?

the west coast blog muse alerts me to a seattle times story on crime and community. residents of the seattle south park neighborhood were upset about the putatively seedy county line bar and the drug sales and prostitution that surrounded it. rather than mobilize against the bar, however, they actually started drinking there. interesting idea, right? criminologists generally believe that even infrequent and informal neighboring can help reduce crime. in this case, residents are doing their neighboring on-site during community happy hours every monday.

if we are to believe the story, such meetings have coincided with crime reductions in the area. an earlier post-intelligencer story was more pessimistic, but featured this quote from organizer joel clement:

“It was time to show the proprietors that there’s an upside to that trend,” he said. “My theory is, crime tends to migrate toward sociocultural vacuums. So let’s fill the vacuum. And drinking a beer is not a lot of work on anybody’s part.”

i like the idea of at least attempting reintegrative rather stigmatizing sanctions — whether for individuals, bars, or other community institutions. my guess is that some of the worst stereotypes have likely been dispelled by the practice. nothing comes for free, of course, as “sociocultural vacuums” are in the eye of the beholder. most worrisome, seattle may have lost a great dive bar in the process. i’m guessing that the county line will have to bring in a golden tee golf machine, ferns, and heirloom balsamic goat cheese salads to keep the upscale residents coming back.

[photos by karen ducey in seattle post-intelligencer story]

can you drink your way to a safer neighborhood?

the west coast blog muse alerts me to a seattle times story on crime and community. residents of the seattle south park neighborhood were upset about the putatively seedy county line bar and the drug sales and prostitution that surrounded it. rather than mobilize against the bar, however, they actually started drinking there. interesting idea, right? criminologists generally believe that even infrequent and informal neighboring can help reduce crime. in this case, residents are doing their neighboring on-site during community happy hours every monday.

if we are to believe the story, such meetings have coincided with crime reductions in the area. an earlier post-intelligencer story was more pessimistic, but featured this quote from organizer joel clement:

“It was time to show the proprietors that there’s an upside to that trend,” he said. “My theory is, crime tends to migrate toward sociocultural vacuums. So let’s fill the vacuum. And drinking a beer is not a lot of work on anybody’s part.”

i like the idea of at least attempting reintegrative rather stigmatizing sanctions — whether for individuals, bars, or other community institutions. my guess is that some of the worst stereotypes have likely been dispelled by the practice. nothing comes for free, of course, as “sociocultural vacuums” are in the eye of the beholder. most worrisome, seattle may have lost a great dive bar in the process. i’m guessing that the county line will have to bring in a golden tee golf machine, ferns, and heirloom balsamic goat cheese salads to keep the upscale residents coming back.

[photos by karen ducey in seattle post-intelligencer story]

upcoming conferences

sarah walker, a grad student in the minnesota political science department, sent word of two interesting conferences:

both gather a strong group of scholars, activists, and other experts, reflecting a burgeoning research interest in criminal punishment.

upcoming conferences

sarah walker, a grad student in the minnesota political science department, sent word of two interesting conferences:

both gather a strong group of scholars, activists, and other experts, reflecting a burgeoning research interest in criminal punishment.

2005 criminology meetings

i’m just back from the 2005 american society of criminology annual meetings in toronto. we had a fine conference at the royal york (though it was expensive for the student members) and near-record attendance. i love the meetings and the society has been a great home for me since my early grad school days. both meeting and society are less formal and more interdisciplinary than american sociological association gatherings: almost anyone who wants to get onto a session can get onto a session and they usually have some interesting things to say.

i’m currently the executive secretary of the organization, which means that i type board meeting minutes, scoop a lot of ice cream, and sign off on awards. plus, i really rake in the loot on secretary’s day. next year’s meetings will be held in los angeles, and the theme under new president gary lafree will be “democracy, crime, and Justice.” i’ll be organizing sessions on crime and politics, chairing an article award committee, and working on a long-term planning committee for the society. i’m hoping to reach out to non-asc members interested in voting, politics, and crime who might not otherwise attend the meetings. i’ll post more on this in spring, but if you would like to present a paper on this or another crime topic next november, you only need to submit an abstract by march to get on the program.

2005 criminology meetings

i’m just back from the 2005 american society of criminology annual meetings in toronto. we had a fine conference at the royal york (though it was expensive for the student members) and near-record attendance. i love the meetings and the society has been a great home for me since my early grad school days. both meeting and society are less formal and more interdisciplinary than american sociological association gatherings: almost anyone who wants to get onto a session can get onto a session and they usually have some interesting things to say.

i’m currently the executive secretary of the organization, which means that i type board meeting minutes, scoop a lot of ice cream, and sign off on awards. plus, i really rake in the loot on secretary’s day. next year’s meetings will be held in los angeles, and the theme under new president gary lafree will be “democracy, crime, and Justice.” i’ll be organizing sessions on crime and politics, chairing an article award committee, and working on a long-term planning committee for the society. i’m hoping to reach out to non-asc members interested in voting, politics, and crime who might not otherwise attend the meetings. i’ll post more on this in spring, but if you would like to present a paper on this or another crime topic next november, you only need to submit an abstract by march to get on the program.

civic reintegration through tough guys for tots

i had a great meeting with michael bischoff of the council on crime and Justice recently, where we discussed the sort of civic engagement work that could be done behind prison walls. minnesota has a number of inmate-based restorative Justice groups. michael wrote to me today with word that the men of faribault prison are holding their second annual “tough guys for tots” walk this Saturday. All money raised will go to the local rice county toys for tots program. Last year the inmates (who earn very little wages) pledged quite a bit themselves.

if you normally give to such toy programs around the holidays, you might consider making a donation and sponsoring a walker this year. in addition to helping out the kids, you can help nurture a prisoner’s pro-social impulses and actions. if interested, you can send a check marked “tough guys for tots” to:

MCF-Faribault
Attn: Jay Welborn
1101 Linden
Faribault, MN 55021-6400

civic reintegration through tough guys for tots

i had a great meeting with michael bischoff of the council on crime and Justice recently, where we discussed the sort of civic engagement work that could be done behind prison walls. minnesota has a number of inmate-based restorative Justice groups. michael wrote to me today with word that the men of faribault prison are holding their second annual “tough guys for tots” walk this Saturday. All money raised will go to the local rice county toys for tots program. Last year the inmates (who earn very little wages) pledged quite a bit themselves.

if you normally give to such toy programs around the holidays, you might consider making a donation and sponsoring a walker this year. in addition to helping out the kids, you can help nurture a prisoner’s pro-social impulses and actions. if interested, you can send a check marked “tough guys for tots” to:

MCF-Faribault
Attn: Jay Welborn
1101 Linden
Faribault, MN 55021-6400